4 years ago

Economic Conditions During Pregnancy and Adverse Birth Outcomes Among Singleton Live Births in the United States, 1990-2013.

Zhehui Luo, Yu Li, Claire E Margerison-Zilko
We know little about the relationship between the macroeconomy and birth outcomes, in part due to the methodological challenge of distinguishing effects of economic conditions on fetal health from effects of economic conditions on selection into live birth. We examined associations between state-level unemployment rates in the first 2 trimesters of pregnancy and adverse birth outcomes, using natality data on singleton live births in the United States during 1990-2013. We used fixed-effect logistic regression models and accounted for selection by adjusting for state-level unemployment before conception and maternal characteristics associated with both selection and birth outcomes. We also tested whether associations between macroeconomic conditions and birth outcomes differed during and after (compared with before) the Great Recession (2007-2009). Each 1-percentage-point increase in the first-trimester unemployment rate was associated with a 5% increase in odds of preterm birth, while second-trimester unemployment was associated with a 3% decrease in preterm birth odds. During the Great Recession, however, first-trimester unemployment was associated with a 16% increase in odds of preterm birth. These findings increase our understanding of the effects of the Great Recession on health and add to growing literature suggesting that macro-level social and economic factors contribute to perinatal health.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwx179

DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwx179

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